Laura Sharman 29 October 2014

‘Unlawful’ ruling could impact future consultations warn lawyers

‘Unlawful’ ruling could impact future consultations warn lawyers image

Lawyers are warning that local authorities must ensure local people are properly consulted when making cuts or service changes, following a Supreme Court ruling.

A Supreme Court has ruled that Haringey Council’s consultation on its proposed council tax scheme was ‘misleading’ as it implied the council had no alternative but to make the poorest residents pay council tax for the first time.

Michelle Moseley, a single mother of four, challenged the consultation by arguing it didn’t provide enough information for people to make an informed response to the proposed changes.

The Supreme Court has now ruled the consultation was ‘unlawful’ as it ‘misleadingly’ implied that there were no possible alternatives.

Law firm Irwin Mitchell, who represented Ms Moseley, said this is the first time the Supreme Court has ruled on issues relating to consultations, and warned it could impact on anything from cuts to services or care home closures.

Alex Rook, a specialist health and welfare lawyer at Irwin Mitchell, said: ‘Today’s ruling will send a very clear message to all local authorities that they need to ensure that their consultations present the options in an accurate way and truly involve local people in the decision making process.

‘Following today’s judgment local authorities and other public bodies should be in no doubt that they cannot hide away from the true reasoning behind their decisions, and will be required to give the public more information about the possible options and the reason why they favour their proposal. The case is a good example of where judicial review and legal aid have been used positively to hold local councils to account.’

A Haringey Council spokesperson said: 'We accept the court’s judgment and will now consider its findings.'

SIGN UP
For your free daily news bulletin
Highways jobs

Adults Social Workers - Harlow

Essex County Council
£32065 - £43839 per annum
Working to support adults and their families who have complex social needs and are more vulnerable as a result of disability, exclusion, or diminished England, Essex, Harlow
Recuriter: Essex County Council

Digital Tutor

Essex County Council
£25801 - £26801 per annum
I.T and Digital Tutor Permanent, Part Time Up to £26,801 per annum Location
Recuriter: Essex County Council

Independent Chairs for the Integrated Care Systems for England

NHS England
£55,000 - £80,000 depending on population size and complexity
Do you have the experience to re-shape the health and care landscape in England? England
Recuriter: NHS England

Head of Governance & Partnerships

Blaenau Gwent County Borough Council
£63,742 - £70,115 per annum
Acting as our Head of Democratic Services, you will ensure that the Council’s statutory functions are achieved to a high standard. Blaenau Gwent
Recuriter: Blaenau Gwent County Borough Council

Consultant – Low carbon transport specialist

Energy Saving Trust
Up to £37,000 per annum, depending on experience
We are looking for an experienced individual, passionate about decarbonising transport and improving air quality. Homeworking
Recuriter: Energy Saving Trust

Public Property

Latest issue - Public Property News

This issue of Public Property examines how how flexible workspaces can lead the way in regeneration for local authorities, Why local authority intervention is key to successful urban regeneration schemes and if the Government’s challenge of embracing beauty is an opportunity for communities.

The March issue also takes a closer look at Blackburn with Darwen Council's first digital health hub to help people gain control over health and care services.

Register for your free digital issue